Friday 3/3 marked our 4th day in Romania. After spending Thursday resting, praying, and preparing I was ready! God had spoken clearly to me and I was excited to get our conference started that night! I just knew big things were coming. Our whole team knew it, we’d been praying for and expecting it for quite a while as we prepared for this trip.
Friday was busy, and began with a delicious breakfast at AMEC:
Addie and Annetta took time to stuff the journals with beautiful bookmarks Addie’s mother had made for the women:
and we planned out the necessary details of the day. Some of us had to go to the grocery store to get supplies for the conference. There’s a deli there with hot (actually cold) food options so we planned to eat lunch there also. It was a neat place and they were playing Love Shack throughout the store when we arrived. haha! 🙂
Later that day it was time for the conference to begin. We got the tables decorated, practiced the music, made sure the schedule was ready and everything else you don’t know you need to do to get a conference going in a foreign country 🙂 – haha!
I was having trouble when we were preparing for worship and I could barely practice. I started pulling back and trying to reserve my voice. Before the conference got started, Addie & I were upstairs in the little kitchen grabbing hot tea because she was struggling, too. We agreed together as we sought the Lord for His strength and ability. We know the powerful things that happen when we rejoice and battle through worship and praise. We asked that He be honored and glorified because we are there in His strength and it is His ability that equips us to carry out His work. After praying we went on down to get started with the conference. It was a beautiful evening!! I began to sing lead on No Longer Slaves and while singing God touched me and I felt a physical change and my full voice return!! He allowed us to sing with power!! I found out later that people were weeping during worship. So honored to serve with Kathy & Addie & our Romanian friends through the worship ministry there. Still so honored to have had this opportunity!
Friday night was amazing! We planned a mixed worship set so that the Romanian team would lead some and we would lead some. I loved getting to hear Marcel & Demisa lead worship for the with Stefan on the cajone (I’m sure I spelled that wrong…) They are SO talented!!
Saturday was also incredible. I witnessed God do big things in the hearts and minds of the women. He really reached into their hearts and encouraged them and ministered to them. They would share with us some tough but incredibly humbling stories of how our stories connected with them and how God had encouraged them through us! I’m so grateful to have been a part of this.
Something that was really incredible that I want to point out is that God took 10 VERY different women and spoke to each of us what He wanted us to share and though we didn’t know what each one was going to share – it fit PERFECTLY together. It was beautiful!! Like an intricate puzzle that only He could create, this conference flowed so well. He was at work in every tiny detail. Right down to the worship songs that had been placed throughout. It was amazing to see how each one connected somehow with the other. There’s so much I loved about this conference but there are a couple of things that I want to share about here: Sisterhood and our stories are worth telling…
Sisterhood. These women need each other. They need to know it’s okay that life gets messy and it’s okay to let someone in to “see” your “mess” so that you can encourage, challenge, and pray for one another. It’s healthy to have that friend that you can share anything with that will tell you to your face when you’re wrong or need correction but will hold you and cry with you when you’re breaking and the world and everything in it doesn’t make sense. The one that will pray bold and heartfelt prayers with you because their heart is intertwined with yours. These are what we call sister-friends back home, and this is what we call a sisterhood. We need each other. And we all have stories worth telling. My beautiful friend Melodie began the discussion about the importance of this when she taught on Sisterhood Friday night.
You have a story worth telling. Unbeknownst to me, my talk would compliment this too when I shared that Saturday afternoon. My message was more of a testimony… I shared some VERY difficult things from my past. I shared of pain, abuse, shame, and brokenness. I shared about a broken girl on a broken way whom had lost all hope at one point. I also shared though about how God knew in advance what I would need…and who I would need. He sent me a treasure in the form of my best friend from back home (her name just so happens to be Amy too!) She would say the tough things I didn’t want to hear but desperately needed. She also would speak life into me and pray harder with me and for me than I knew how to pray myself. I am who I am today because of the gift that is her friendship. I needed a sister-friend, we all need a sister-friend. We were never meant to do life alone. Never.
As I shared about the hard moments and the miracles and the blessings, I was moved and humbled at the tears that these beautiful women shed alongside me. Even my precious translator was wiping her tears as she communicated my story. As I exposed my very naked soul before these strangers I found such encouragement and freedom. I shared because I wanted them to see that no matter how dark life can seem, no matter how difficult things can be, and no matter what you’ve been through or has been done to you – NOTHING is beyond the redemption and grace and restoration of Jesus. He can take those ashes and give you beauty. He can restore joy that is so true and so pure that no one and no thing can take it away. Some of that was understood and some was spoken but our hearts connected that day in a way that I cannot fully explain with words.
I have a story worth telling. You have a story worth telling. Don’t hide and don’t do life alone. Allow others in so they can pray with you, laugh with you, cry with you, rejoice with you, and love you. And as you share your story, don’t forget to give glory to the One Who gives you life and every good thing.
Love in Christ,
Pictures from the conference: